Brew-ED Beer News: Hi-Wire announces plan to expand beer production

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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brew-edweblogoBIGwtag2By Cliff Mori

Hi-Wire Brewing has announced an expansion. From their press release:

After only 16 months in operation, Hi-Wire has grown by leaps and bounds. Since basically Day 1, demand has consistently outpaced supply for its beers, and in that time, Hi-Wire’s brewing capacity has grown by over 135%. Since their latest expansion in July, Hi-Wire’s production has been running at full steam – with the system stretched to its capacity.

In order to meet demand for its products, starting this fall Hi-Wire will, under the strict supervision and personal oversight of its head brewer, have their friends at Lazy Magnolia Brewing in Mississippi “contract brew” a portion of its bottled beers. Following in the footsteps of two of Asheville’s pioneering breweries, this temporary stage in Hi-Wire’s growth is a common move for breweries in this stage of their evolution.

Hi-Wire’s co-owner Chris Frosaker puts it this way, “We’ve been blown away by the reception within the community. It’s because of their overwhelming support and demand that we’re embarking on this interim solution to boost production. We’re really fortunate to be able to contract with a brewery as esteemed as Lazy Magnolia. They’re Mississippi’s oldest brewery and are about to celebrate their tenth anniversary. With distribution in at least fifteen states, they have every reason to celebrate. We searched throughout the eastern half of the country for a brewery that could meet our quality and logistical needs before we found Lazy Mag and realized they were a perfect with for us.” This move also enables several key advances to Hi-Wire’s Asheville operations. Notably, it allows the brewery to increase production of more unique and exciting beers, like its recently released barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout and its Sideshow beers, on tap only at Hi-Wire’s downtown tasting room. “We overturned every bale of hops and sifted through every bag of grain looking for more room in our current space. We’re already storing supplies off-site; we’re literally on top of each other just trying to brew, keg and bottle right now. By partnering with Lazy Magnolia to bottle a portion of our beers, we can finally get close to meeting demand expectations for our popular bottled products, while increasing output of our draft beer, all while making sure the large majority of our beer is still made here in Asheville.

Ultimately, Asheville and North Carolina are very very thirsty. We’ll still keep producing all our draft beer here as well as a good portion of our bottled beers. Working with Lazy Magnolia is the best way to make sure shelves are stocked and draft lines are flowing while we work tirelessly to cement our future plans.” adds owner Adam Charnack.

Hi-Wire has been planning for its future for some time and work continues to finalize its long-range plans to significantly boost capacity locally and return to 100% Asheville-based production.

I followed up with co-owner Adam Charnack about the plans for the contract brewer relationship. Adam told me that all Hi-Wire beer produced between the two facilities will continue to be sold only in North Carolina, but the expansion will allow product to be sold in grocery store chains and elsewhere that the small downtown brewery simply couldn’t support in its current form.

This contract relationship will be similar to the one employed by Highland Brewing years ago as they grew from their humble Biltmore Avenue basement location to their much larger East Asheville facility. Using a contract brewer in the interim allows a brewery to build sales accounts and start supplying beer to customers before a much larger facility is built. This way there is enough demand built up before the larger brewery opens its doors. This is exciting news for Hi-Wire and a sign that they are serious about their growth.

Cliff Mori is the owner and operator of BREW-ed, which offers brewery tours and a variety of beer training in Asheville.  He was the first Certified Cicerone in Western North Carolina (the beer equivalent to the wine world’s sommelier), then began working for the Cicerone Certification Program by traveling around the U.S. proctoring exams. Cliff also teaches a variety of beer-related courses at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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  1. PBnJ October 2, 2014

    I wonder how much, if any, they expect the different water chemistry in Mississippi to affect their beer flavor or quality?

  2. Dude October 1, 2014

    why couldn’t Craggie Brewing make it in that location? The session beers they had on tap weren’t that bad…


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